“ROBIN IN TREE” GLASS MUG
The “Robin in Tree” mug is one of the more commonly seen glass children’s mugs to be found. The original mugs were produced by Bryce Brothers of Pittsburgh, PA (1882-1891) and were also produced for some unknown length of time by U.S. Glass Company after 1891. (Bryce joined U.S. Glass Company, a combine of 18 glass companies, in 1891).
According to PATTERN GLASS MUGS (John B. Mordock & Walter L. Adams, 1995), the originals were made in amber, clear, blue, canary (“vaseline”, or yellowish with a faint greenish tint), and light amethyst. Those colors (excepting amethyst) are fairly typical of much of EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) of the mid-1880s period.
Although this mug is usually called “Robin in Tree” or “Robin in a Tree”, it is sometimes called “Bird on a branch” (not to be confused with another well-known mug of the EAPG era that usually goes by that name.)
The design is very well executed, showing nice detail and painstaking work by the mold engraver. Looking closely at the design, the birds appears to be perched on rose branches. The side of the mug with the handle oriented to the left shows a bird looking backward, with head facing toward the left. On the other side (handle pointing right), the bird is perched on a twig while leaning downward, almost upside down. The mug is about 3 and 3/4ths inches in height.
The mug was evidently the largest size of a four-mug set in graduated sizes. The other mugs in the set are “Chicks and Pugs”, “Feeding Deer & Dog” and “Grape Bunch”. Another mug with the same shape and handle is “Strawberry & Pear”, assumed to be of the same manufacturer and general time period.
Mosser Glass Company, of Cambridge, Ohio, reproduced this mug in a wide range of colors between 1973 and 1993. The mold (or molds) used for the Mosser pieces are very, very close in appearance to the original mold(s), but there are a few very slight differences in the design details when compared closely side by side.
Some Mosser Glass Co. mugs are reported to be unmarked, a few have the “M inside an outline of the state of Ohio” on the base, and others (probably the majority of these mugs made by Mosser?) have a VERY, VERY tiny engraved “M” on the base.
TINY “M” marked on base – VERY HARD TO SEE!
Several years ago, when looking very closely at the base of both an ice blue and an amber mug, I discovered a tiny, faint “M” on the base which is not noticeable except under close scrutiny. Holding the mug upside down, with the handle oriented in a “southwesterly” direction, on the “point” of the star which points directly at the stem of the handle, on the “south” facing facet of that point (which is really a square or a “cube” with four sides) there IS A FAINT “M” VERY LIGHTLY ENGRAVED! (A loupe or magnifying glass may be necessary to see it clearly).
I find this of interest and importance, because it seems that because of the listing in PATTERN GLASS MUGS, Mordock & Adams (mug #84, shown on page 22) and the accompanying description (and a repeat of that same information in at least one other book on pressed glass), glass collectors may mistakenly assume that ALL of those mugs WITHOUT an “M within Ohio” mark will, by default, be one of the originals by Bryce Bros. This is happening, as evidenced by the descriptions in a number of auctions on ebay posted over the last few years.
In 2010, I wrote to the Mosser Glass Company website asking about these mugs, and the company representative’s answer was very brief and somewhat vague. They wrote (quoting): “Our records show it is a copy of an old piece of glass. We produced it from 1973 thru 1993.” So here we have a full 20-year period, with (I would assume) repeated occasional or sporadic pourings in a range of colors.
I have seen these mugs in amber, olive green, emerald green, ice blue, turquoise blue (some collectors might call it teal blue), opaque custard (off-white or faint yellowish beige), cobalt blue, green carnival, blue carnival and light to medium amethyst. Most, if not all, of these colors appear to be products of Mosser.
If you have one of the Robin in Tree mugs in a color not listed here, please write!
Please click here to go to my HOME PAGE.